The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) is seeking to have teachers’ retirement benefits shifted from Treasury to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
They argue that the current arrangement where they are paid by the Director of Pension has been a source of frustration for most of them.
Speaking during Post-World Teachers Day at Kitui Teachers Training College (TTC) on October 10, 2023, KNUT Secretary General (SG) Collins Oyuu said teachers even die without their benefits due to the lengthy procedures involved that are also underlined by corruption.
According to Oyuu, it is ironic that teachers render their services close to 35 years with TSC paying them, then after retirement they are directed to another paymaster at the National Treasury, an entity that does not even know the teacher.
“Our teachers work close to 35 years being paid by TSC, and then at retirement, they are now handed over to a third party known as the Director of Pensions at the National Treasury. Is it really fair?” wondered Oyuu.
He said they have already forwarded the proposal, and that Parliament is ready to assist to correct the anomaly.
In May this year, TSC’s chief executive (CEO) Dr Nancy Macharia blamed the National Treasury for the delays in the payment of teachers’ pensions, stating that the Commission always completes the necessary paperwork on time.
Dr Macharia stated that TSC does not pay teachers’ pension, pointing out that their work is to prepare documentation, which only takes three months, and forward them to the Director of Pension.
Appearing before the Senate’s Education Committee to explain the inordinate delays to pay pension claims for some 23,487 teachers who retired between 1998 and 2003, the TSC boss explained that teachers due for retirement are given a one year notice by the Commission in order to prepare their documentations in readiness for exit.
Yet Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ezekiel Machogu, also appearing before the Senate on August 9, 2023, stated that it will take retired teacher less than six months to process their pension.
Seeming to court confusion, he asked TSC to expedite the process of processing their pensions for onward transmission to the Pensions Department at the National Treasury.
Normally, upon receipt of the retirement notice from the Commission, a teacher is required to promptly forward all the required documents listed in the notice, indicating full particulars of their bank accounts in the bank forms.
They are also to commute a fraction of their pension up to a quarter, and confirm tax status with KRA and settle any tax liabilities.
Oyuu reiterated that those teachers who lose their jobs through various disciplinary processes must be paid for the number of years they worked regardless of why they left service.
“You benefits are basically the services you offered. We are not talking about behaviour here, but services rendered,” said Oyuu.
He said they have also moved to court to seek clear interpretation on who belongs to National Social Security Fund (NSSF), Provident Fund, and the Contributory Pension Scheme since it is marred by confusion.
The back door
Oyuu called upon TSC to stop delocalization ‘through the back door’ under the pretext of promotion, maintaining that the delocalized teachers must be re-routed to their original counties since the policy led to family break ups.
“We shall not accept delocalization through the back door. It has to stop and teachers must be kept as much as a possible closer to their families. TSC must stop delocalizing our teachers under the pretext of promoting them,” said Oyuu, adding that teachers must be kept in their current stations until vacancies are available next to home.
Regarding delayed payments by the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC), Oyuu stated that the Council should respect the teachers who offer their services in managing and marking the examinations by paying them on time.
The KNUT boss also supported the Presidential Working Party on Education Reforms (PWPER) on the comprehensive school and the reviewed grading structure for KCSE candidates, noting that it will increase the number of students joining university and the Teacher Training colleges (TTCs).
At the same time, he warned that other unions ought to respect the space and jurisdiction of KNUT.
“Any other union purporting to recruit teachers from Comprehensive School is day-dreaming. All teachers who are in Comprehensive School should belong to KNUT,” he said.
By Roy Hezron
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